Forget Raymond. Everybody loves Reuben, apparently. Within the past month, two local pie-slingers — &pizza and Timber Pizza Co. — began serving a new option inspired by the classic sandwich, which is traditionally made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian or Thousand Island dressing. In place of rye bread, you’ll find chewy, delicious pizza dough in these variations. Here’s a look at how they compare.
Timber Pizza Co.
Pop-up at Darnell’s Bar & Lounge, 944 Florida Ave. NW, timberpizza.com
The inspiration: Timber’s Reuben is a collab with Nick Wiseman, co-founder of DGS Delicatessen. “When you let people do what they’re best at, you can end up with some pretty cool stuff,” Timber co-founder Andrew Dana says. The special is available at Timber’s pop-up, running through March.
The ingredients: Timber cooks its pizzas in a mobile wood-burning oven using Virginia oak. (A brick-and-mortar pizzeria in Petworth is forthcoming.) The pizza is similar to a white pie in that the base is garlic and oil rather than tomato sauce. It’s topped with provolone, Swiss cheese and pastrami cured at DGS. “We went with pastrami over corned beef because we thought it’d get crispier in the oven,” Dana says. After the pizza is baked, Timber adds sauerkraut made locally by Number 1 Sons and a light drizzle of Russian dressing made in-house at DGS.
Why it works: “The idea of Russian dressing on pizza is a little scary,” Dana admits. “But it works because we show a ton of restraint.” Plus, Dana adds, the pastrami is thin-cut (“Think of it as pepperoni”) and the neutral white base keeps the flavors naturally on the lighter side.
Multiple locations; andpizza.com
The inspiration: Emboldened by the success of its limited-run bacon cheeseburger pie, the &pizza team looked to other sandwiches it could translate into pizza form, says co-founder Michael Lastoria. After six weeks of testing, the Reuben pizza was born on Jan. 11.
The ingredients: Following the chain’s model for complete customization, &pizza’s Reuben pie starts with your choice of traditional, ancient grain or gluten-free crust. It’s then topped with ricotta cheese, Thousand Island dressing, shredded Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and sliced pastrami. It’s cooked and finished off with a creamy coleslaw made with Brussels sprouts and Thousand Island dressing. “It has a tang that cuts through the Swiss cheese and pastrami,” says Damon Appling, &pizza’s operations director.
Why it works: The ingredients are divided and placed lengthwise down each side of the oblong-shaped pizza. When you fold the slice in half, it mimics a sandwich and creates a well-balanced bite. The crust is thin, not doughy, so it’s essentially like eating a Reuben sandwich on flatbread.
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